The current residential property marketing is ideal for buyers looking to pick up a bargain. Along with the bargain purchase price, buyers also want cheap legal fees and more often than not, are not prepared to pay for searches.
Whilst deciding against obtaining searches may save money in the short term, the decision could have expensive long term consequences.
The standard searches that we advise all clients to obtain are as follows:-
Enquiries of the Local Authority are made in every transaction. Examples of what the search may reveal are whether the road serving the property is maintained at the public expense or the property owner, whether any roads or railways are proposed within 200 metres of the property, whether any Planning Applications have been made or whether the property is crossed by a public footpath etc.
Drainage Enquiry Search
The papers are submitted to the Water Service Company which services the property. The enquiry will reveal whether the property has foul drainage to a public sewer, whether the property has subsurface water drainage to the public sewer, whether there is a water main within the boundaries of the property and finally whether the property is connected to a public water supply.
It is now regarded as best practice to obtain an Environmental Report in all land transactions. One obvious problem is the possibility of the land being contaminated.
Coal Mining Search
This search is made whenever the land is situated in an area where there are or have been in the past coal mining operations. The result of this search will reveal whether the property is in such an area, the existence of underground workings which may cause problems with subsidence, and whether compensation for subsidence damage has been paid in the past or any claim is pending.
Common Registration Search
This Search should be made in any case where the property to be purchased abuts a village green or common land. The search will show whether any land is registered under the Common Registration Act 1965. Where land has been registered under this Act, it is difficult to remove that land from the Register and not possible to obtain Planning permission for development over that land.
Searches reveal a great deal of information on the property and the land it is built on. For example, a coal mining search, which currently costs £41, can reveal whether the property is at risk of subsidence. The usual remedy to correct subsidence is underpinning which can cost anywhere between £5,000 to £50,000 and is a lengthy, disruptive procedure.
Therefore to prevent expensive and stressful issues arising at a later date it is important that these searches are completed.